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The Diocese of Buffalo is a Roman Catholic diocese headquartered in Buffalo, New York, United States. It is included in the province of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, in the Roman Rite. The Buffalo Diocese includes eight counties in Western New York State. The Catholic population is nearly 700,000. The Diocese is divided into more than 150 parishes, which also include churches, schools, convents, seminaries, hospitals, and colleges. The Buffalo Diocese was established in 1847. From the Buffalo Diocese, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester was created in 1868. The Most Reverend Richard Joseph Malone became the 14th bishop of the Buffalo Diocese, August 10, 2012.

Diocese of Buffalo

Dioecesis Buffalensis
Coat of Arms Diocese of Buffalo, NY.png
Country United States
TerritoryWestern New York (Counties of Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Orleans, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Cattauraugus, and Allegany, New York)
Ecclesiastical provinceArchdiocese of New York
Headquarters795 Main Street
Buffalo, New York
Area16,511 km2 (6,375 sq mi)
- Total
- Catholics
(as of 2012)
721,000 (44.2%)
DenominationRoman Catholic
RiteRoman Rite
EstablishedApril 23, 1847; 172 years ago (1847-04-23)
CathedralSt. Joseph Cathedral
Patron saintSt. Joseph
Current leadership
BishopRichard Joseph Malone
Metropolitan ArchbishopTimothy Michael Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
Auxiliary BishopsEdward M. Grosz
Bishops emeritusEdward U. Kmiec
Bishop emeritus of Buffalo
Diocese of Buffalo map 1.png
St. Joseph Cathedral, Buffalo, New York
St. Joseph Church, Gowanda, New York, 2007
Religious Artifact, St. Columban Retreat Center, Derby, New York, 1998


Range and populationEdit

The Diocese covers 6,455 square miles (16,720 km2) throughout the eight counties of Western New York; and has a Catholic population of 690,000.[1] In the Diocese are 166 parishes, 15 high schools, 52 elementary schools, seven colleges and universities, one seminary, convents, and four hospitals.[2]



The Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo was established April 23, 1847. It was set apart from the great Diocese of New York and the See located at Buffalo on Lake Erie, the territory comprising nearly one-third of the State of New York.


In 1868, the Diocese of Rochester was formed from the eastern counties of the territory of the Diocese of Buffalo. In 1896, after Bishop Stephen Vincent Ryan's death, four more counties, including Steuben, Schuyler, Chemung, and Tioga, were taken from the Diocese of Buffalo and added to the Rochester jurisdiction.

Reports of sex abuseEdit

On September 12, 2018, leaked church records showed that there were 106 clergy in the Diocese of Buffalo who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, far more than a list of 42 which had been released by the Diocese in March of the year.[3] Numerous former Bishops and current Bishop Richard J. Malone, have been accused of shielding some of these "predator priests," as well as at least one nun, from potential prosecution and transferring some to other parishes to avoid scrutiny.[4][5] Malone, who once served as an Auxiliary Bishop to the Archdiocese of Boston under the notorious Archbishop Cardinal Bernard Law,[6] was also revealed in August 2018 to have returned at least one "predator priest" to active ministry.[7] A few clergy on the list who were still active in ministry have been suspended.[8][9][10] On September 28, Malone named Steven L. Halter, a former agent in the FBI's Buffalo Division who took part in the investigations of the 9/11 World Trade Center and USS Cole attacks committed by the Islamic terrorist organization Al Qaeda and who served as senior accounting officer at Empire of America Federal Savings Bank, Buffalo beforehand, director of the Diocese's newly created Office of Personal Responsibility, which handles sex abuse complaints in the Diocese.[11][12]

On 28 May 2019, it was announced that the Diocese of Buffalo's compensation program had by that point paid $17.5 million to 106 childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse, while rejecting 135 applicants it deemed ineligible for its voluntary compensation program.[13] In June 2019, however, it was announced that plaintiff James Bottlinger had declined a $650,000 offer to settle his sex-abuse lawsuit against the Diocese of Buffalo and will continue to pursue his lawsuit in court.[14][15][16] Bottlinger has also implicated former Erie, Pennsylvania Bishop Donald Trautman of protecting his abuser Rev. Michael Freeman from potential prosecution when Trautman served as the second-highest ranking official in the Diocese of Buffalo in the 1980s.[14][15][16] Bottlinger is using the state of New York's new Child Victims Act to sue the Diocese of Buffalo.[16] Aside from Bottlinger, who stated that Freeman started abusing him in 1984,[16] two other men accused Freeman of molesting them when they were boys as well.[15] Complaints against Freeman also surfaced by 1981.[16] However, Freeman died in 2010.[16]


The Diocese of Buffalo includes the following eight counties in Western New York State:[1]

  • Allegany
  • Cattaraugus
  • Chautauqua
  • Erie
  • Genesee
  • Niagara
  • Orleans
  • Wyoming


The lists of bishops and auxiliary bishops of the diocese and their years of service, followed by other priests of this diocese who became bishops:

Bishops of BuffaloEdit

  1. John Timon, C.M. (1847–1867)
  2. Stephen V. Ryan, C.M. (1868–1896)
  3. James Edward Quigley (1896–1903), appointed Archbishop of Chicago
  4. Charles H. Colton (1903–1915)
  5. Dennis Joseph Dougherty (1915–1918), appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia (elevated to Cardinal in 1921)
  6. William Turner (1919–1936)
  7. John Aloysius Duffy (1937–1944)
  8. John Francis O'Hara, C.S.C. (1945–1951), appointed Archbishop of Philadelphia (elevated to Cardinal in 1958)
  9. Joseph Aloysius Burke (1952–1962)
  10. James Aloysius McNulty (1963–1972)
  11. Edward Dennis Head (1973–1995)
  12. Henry Joseph Mansell (1995–2003), appointed Archbishop of Hartford
  13. Edward Urban Kmiec (2004–2012)
  14. Richard Joseph Malone (2012–Present)[17]

Auxiliary BishopsEdit

Other priests of this diocese who became bishopsEdit

Major ministriesEdit

  • Campus Ministries
  • Catholic Charities
  • Catholic Health System
  • Holy Name Society
  • St. Vincent de Paul Society
  • Youth Ministry[2]

Hospitals and affiliatesEdit

  • Bertrand Chaffee Hospital, Springville[18]
  • Catholic Medical Partners, Buffalo[19]
  • Kenmore Mercy Hospital, Kenmore[20]
  • Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, Buffalo[21]
  • Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center, Lewiston[22]
  • Sisters of Charity Hospital, Buffalo
  • Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus, Cheektowaga[21]


  • Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora[2]


Colleges and universitiesEdit

High schoolsEdit

Elementary schoolsEdit

  • Catholic Academy of Niagara Falls, Niagara Falls
  • Catholic Academy of West Buffalo, Buffalo
  • Christ the King School, Snyder
  • DeSales Catholic School, Lockport
  • Immaculate Conception School, East Aurora
  • Immaculate Conception School of Allegany County, Wellsville
  • Mary Queen of Angels Regional School, Cheektowaga
  • Nardin Academy Elementary and Montessori Divisions, Buffalo
  • NativityMiguel Middle School of Buffalo, Buffalo
  • Nativity of our Lord School, Orchard Park
  • Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary School, Clarence
  • Niagara Catholic Junior High School, Niagara Falls
  • Northern Chautauqua Catholic School, Dunkirk
  • Our Lady of Black Rock School, Buffalo
  • Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament School, Depew
  • Our Lady of Victory School, Lackawanna
  • Queen of Heaven School, West Seneca
  • Sacred Heart Villa School, Lewiston
  • South Buffalo Catholic School - Notre Dame Academy, Buffalo
  • Southern Tier Catholic School, Olean
  • Southtowns Catholic School, Lake View
  • SS. Peter and Paul School, Hamburg
  • SS. Peter and Paul School, Williamsville
  • St. Aloysius Regional School, Springville
  • St. Amelia School, Tonawanda
  • St. Andrew's Country Day School, Kenmore
  • St. Benedict School, Amherst
  • St. Christopher School, Tonawanda
  • St. Gregory the Great School, Williamsville
  • St. John the Baptist School, Alden
  • St. John the Baptist School, Kenmore
  • St. John Vianney School, Orchard Park
  • St. Joseph School, Batavia
  • St. Joseph University School, Buffalo
  • St. Mark School, Buffalo
  • St. Mary's Elementary School, Lancaster
  • St. Mary's School, Swormville
  • St. Peter School, Lewiston
  • St. Stephen School, Grand Island
  • Stella Niagara Education Park, Stella Niagara

School restructuringEdit

In 2005, Bishop Edward Kmiec announced that the Diocese would begin a school restructuring effort as part of the "Journey of Faith and Grace Campaign."[25] In 2007, 14 Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese closed. The closures, alphabetically by city, included Most Precious Blood, Angola; Genesee-Wyoming Catholic, Attica; St. Agnes, St. Bernard, and St. Rose of Lima, Buffalo; Infant of Prague, St. Josaphat, Kolbe Catholic, Resurrection, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Cheektowaga; St. Barnabas, Depew; St. Hyacinth, Dunkirk; Blessed Sacrament, Kenmore; and St. Edmund, Tonawanda. The school closures caused job losses to 158 full-time and 49 part-time employees. More than 1,410 students were negatively affected by the school closures in 2007, and were required to enroll in other educational programs outside of these schools.[26] In the five years immediately preceding the school closures, many families had already begun removing their children from Catholic schools in the diocese due to the instability of the schools, and concerns about not desiring their children to be enrolled in schools in which there was little or no future.

Regarding the 14 school closures in 2007, Bishop Kmiec stated in a February 2007 article written by Mark Ciemcioch in the Western New York Catholic:

This restructuring is necessary to respond to changing demographics, population and economic realities in Western New York; ... this is the most difficult decision I've ever made [while] being a bishop for 24 years.[26]

While the average cost of teaching one student in the 14 schools in 2007 was $4,738, the average tuition cost for the student was $1,525. Therefore, the debt of those schools' parishes averaged $224,160, and totaled more than $3.3 million altogether. Secretary of the Department of Catholic Education Denise McKenzie stated that the deficit can, therefore, lead to a significant deficit in the schools and associated parishes even prior to the beginning of each school year. The Diocese of Buffalo contributed millions of dollars to support schools whose parishes used up monies to subsidize their schools. In early 2007 alone, the Diocese was operating with a $2.1 million deficit, in part, due to the subsidies provided to schools and parishes.[26][27]

Cheektowaga, the area hardest-hit by the school closures with five schools lost in 2007, experienced great demographic changes in recent years. The area was once heavily Catholic, though the majority of the population of older adults has been replaced by those who are younger and non-Catholic. Younger couples have moved to the area, purchasing starter homes, and have moved out of the area when they begin having children, causing in decline in enrollments in the city's Catholic schools, particularly in kindergarten classes. The dramatic change has resulted in drastically reduced enrollments, for example in the Infant of Prague School in 1960 that had 1,120 students, and had only 117 enrolled students in 2007. St. Barnabas School in Depew – one of the schools that closed in 2007 – had only 57 students enrolled that year, making it less than minimally viable per Msgr. John Madsen.[26][28]


  1. ^ a b "Diocese of Buffalo". Facebook. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c "About the Diocese". Diocese of Buffalo. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
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  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ a b c
  16. ^ a b c d e f
  17. ^ Harrison, Judy; Koenig, Seth (May 29, 2012). "Maine Catholic Bishop Richard Malone appointed bishop of Buffalo". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  18. ^ "About Us". Bertrand Chaffee Hospital. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  19. ^ "About Us". Catholic Medical Partners. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  20. ^ "Kenmore Mercy Adds New Cardiology Service" (Press release). Catholic Health. November 18, 2013. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Hospitals". Catholic Health System. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  22. ^ "Mount St. Mary Hospital to join Catholic Health" (Press release). Diocese of Buffalo. April 29, 2014. Archived from the original on August 27, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  23. ^ "Religious have had tremendous impact on Polonia". Am-Pol Eagle. Cheektowaga, NY. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  24. ^ "Colleges & Universities". Diocese of Buffalo. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  25. ^ "Diocese begins strategic planning effort" (Press release). Diocese of Buffalo. June 8, 2005. Archived from the original on September 23, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  26. ^ a b c d "Diocese of Buffalo Announces Decision to Close 14 Schools as Part of Strategic Planning Process" (PDF) (Press release). Diocese of Buffalo. January 19, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on September 23, 2015. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  27. ^ "Visioning for the Future: Catholic Elementary Schools Strategic Plan Phase I" (PDF). Diocese of Buffalo. November 2009. Archived from the original (PDF) on December 18, 2014. Retrieved December 10, 2014.
  28. ^ Buechi, P.J. (February 2007). "Cheektowaga area hardest hit by school closings". Western New York Catholic. Buffalo, NY.

External linksEdit